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  1. #1
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    At work, we use sprint services, some of our laptops have mobile broadband USB modems, and one older one even has a mobile broadband PCMCIA card! That laptop, HOPEFULLY, is going to be repalced asap.. been working on that in another thread.

    Now.. our contract terms are coming up on the mobile broadband modems. ( IE.. we had a 2 yr and now will be out of contract paying month to month unless we make a service change that requires taking another 2yr contract term ).

    Our main office is in a location that does not have dsl or cable directly nearby. the only way we could get internet at our office untill now would have been hughesnet.. which we declined and went with the 2 mobile broadband modems instead. Also comes in handy when we have to run out to jobsites.. or if we se up a jobsite trailer for a few weeks.. etc..

    now.. the old laptop witht he pcmcia modem is dieing and might bet repalced.. obviously the new laptop will not have a pcmcia adapter.. thus that pc will HAVE to convert to using a usb broadband model, or find a wifi source. Under our sprint corporate plan.. if we upgrade the pc card modem to a USB modem it's going to trigger a 2yr contract

    Thus I've looked into the following options:

    1, have one of the office mobile telephones ( galaxy nexus ) enabled as a wifi hotspot... still waiting on pricing from verizon for that.

    2, since we are out of contract, we could ditch the sprint boradband modems and get 2 prepaid usb modems, and do the pay as you go route with no contract. looking at the pay as you go.. the price plans are remarkably FAVORABLE looking at the data rate vs what we are paying on out sprint plan. IE.. even getting a beefy 5gig pay as you go plan thru, say, tmobile, would still be cheaper than the current rate we are paying for air cards thru sprint.

    3, another option would be to get wifi hotspots. apparrently their data rate / plans are same/similar as the plain usb broadband modems. big difference is the wifi hotspot will connect 4-5 devices to share the data with.. also, less consequental.. the wifi hotspots cost 120-150$ and the usb mdems costs 45-99$

    4, also could get a single usb modem and a single hotspot. use the hotspot for the office where devices may be shared.. and use the usb modem for the single guy running around in a pickup from job to job. ( possible good option ).

    5 combination of the above... turn the office mobile into a wifi hotspot.. thus no hardware to buy on tht one.. etc. and then either get another hotspot or usb modem for the other pc.

    now the tech question.

    usb broadband, pay as you go modem.... I'm currently using a sprint ( franklin wireless ) and get good signal and date thruput. I assume the other brands of modems work similarly, and date is, as anything, going to be signal strength and coverage dependent. IE.. if i'm in a tunnel, or in a hurricane with 65' of trees over me.. signal is worse than shooting around inside a big inner city with good coverage. Now.. how do those wifi hotspots work? is it essentially a Broadband modem that then just conencts wifi to the devices.. IE.. it's going to see about the same data rate as a usb modem ( basically.. would say a tmobile usb broadband pay as you go perform the same speed as a t mobile hotspot, pay as you go??

    that's what the boss wants to know. He's absolutely against us getting another contract term thru sprint.. add to that that the pay as you go offers are, well, a few bucks UNDER what we pay right now.. so it's a money neutral issue 9 except for the actual cost of the mobile device we bought if any ).



    thus.. in short.. data speeds from a usb broadband compaired to a mobile hotspot?

    same ( are they essentially using the same tech? ie.. 3g or if available.. 4g coverage? ) and thus the same speeds.

    thanks.

    I'm likely gonna be stuck making this decision and getting the hardware and plans together next week. along with bringing the new pc online if approved. right now trying to squeeze some water from a rock, blood from a turnip, and trying to spin some gold out of straw to cover our budget.. gotta love the construction industry these last few years..

    soundguy

  2. #2
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    If you are with ATT, there is probably a SIM card in the PCMCIA modem which could be swapped to a USB modem or wireless hotspot without ATT being any wiser...

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    sprint..

  4. #4
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    thus.. in short.. data speeds from a usb broadband compaired to a mobile hotspot?
    same ( are they essentially using the same tech? ie.. 3g or if available.. 4g coverage? ) and thus the same speeds.
    Assuming that they have thus equally good reception (ie: if one doesnt have a junky antenna) they should get the same or similar speeds.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    that's what I was thinking.. both of them are essentially broadband mobile devices.. one is just a single usb connection.. the other is a wifi provider so you get to 'provide' for more devices, slicing up the date between the sum of the connections... ).. if it only had one connection.. I'd 'guess' the broadband usb and hotspot would be almost identical in speed.. if perhaps the hotspot being a hair slower due to wifi latency and small networking overhead perhaps.


    anyone using one of those prepaid hotspots?

    hard to connect to?

    at work we have a couple pc's that could connect.. and a nook the manager uses i think.. not much setup i take it? eh?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    sprint..
    Ah, if they are like Verizon, you might be able to bring your own device without renewing the contract. Alternatively, something like NexAira Business Class 3G Broadband Router R-SI-NEX-BC-A208 B&H would let you keep using your PCMCIA modem via a Wifi OR wired network.

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  7. #7
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soundguy View Post
    anyone using one of those prepaid hotspots?
    hard to connect to?
    at work we have a couple pc's that could connect.. and a nook the manager uses i think.. not much setup i take it? eh?
    We had a Verizon MiFi in at work for testing. Was about as hard to connect to as a "normal" encrypted wireless network (ie: choose the network, enter the pin and connect).

    Aaron Z
    A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
    Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    Quote Originally Posted by aczlan View Post
    Ah, if they are like Verizon, you might be able to bring your own device without renewing the contract. Alternatively, something like NexAira Business Class 3G Broadband Router R-SI-NEX-BC-A208 B&H would let you keep using your PCMCIA modem via a Wifi OR wired network.

    Aaron Z
    hey.. neat device.. would let us keep the pcmcia modem.. slap it in that router and make a wifi hotspot for the entire office.

    neat.. deffinately going into the option pile.. thanks..

  9. #9
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    thanks fro the info.

    it's a big help.

    I'm an electronics guy.. even have plenty of rf communications education and experience.. but all mostly analog.. .. but not so much on digital 'networking'.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: prepaid mobile broadband usb modem vs prepaid wifi hotspot ?

    We have several 3G modems at work for our mobile operations. We buy the hardware outright, and then pay on a month to month basis. Charges range up and down automatically depending on the use. In our experience, the modems have worked well, but are subject to throttling.

    At home ( semi rural ) my wife and I tether to our 4G smart phones. Much faster service than the modems, but you are limited to the data plans you can buy with the phone. Currently we both have 6GB plans. That would not be enough in an office environment, unless you put some very strict controls on video downloads. For whatever reason, the phones are NOT throttled back.
    Tim.

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